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Election 2015
Charlottesville, Albemarle School Board races take shape
20140606-Charlottesville School Board Retreat
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The Charlottesville School Board and division staff on retreat in Richmond
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Tim Shea | Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 12:36 a.m.

The fields for the Albemarle and Charlottesville school board races are set, and the final days and hours preceding Tuesday’s filing deadline saw six new candidates submit paperwork.

Five candidates are running for four open seats on the Charlottesville School Board.

Adam Hastings, 34, dean of business, mathematics and technologies at Piedmont Virginia Community College, and Edgar “Hal” Turner, assistant dean of students and director of fraternity and sorority life at the University of Virginia, are running in the Nov. 3 general election.

“As a city resident no longer working in K-12 education, I believe that I have an opportunity to bring my K-12 expertise to bear on the important decisions facing the Charlottesville School Board,” said Hastings, who has directed the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center, served as assistant principal at Charlottesville High School and taught at Sutherland Middle School.

Turner could not be reached by press time Wednesday.

Along with Hastings and Turner, board Chairwoman Amy Laufer, board member Jennifer McKeever and Sherry Kraft will be on the general election ballot.

Elected to the board in 2011, Laufer has three children in the division and often advocates for special-education services.

McKeever also has children in the division, and is an attorney with the law firm Jones & Green. Like Laufer, McKeever is seeking her second term.

Current board members Colette Blount and Willa Neale have chosen not to seek re-election.

In Albemarle, Caroll “CJ” Hatcher, 63, a former teacher and member of Albemarle’s Long Range Planning Advisory Committee, is seeking the White Hall District seat.

“As a former high school teacher, educational business owner, author, parent and grandparent of children who attend Albemarle County Schools, [I believe] quality education is key to success,” Hatcher said in a news release.

Hatcher will be running against David Oberg.

Oberg, an attorney with the Charlottesville-based firm Jones & Green, has a child in the division and formerly directed Blue Ridge UniServ — an organization that aims to support local education associations.

Brian Vanyo, an intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency, is running in the special election to fill the Samuel Miller seat. Candidates for the special election have until Aug. 9 to file.

Catherine Lochner, 52, a local network coordinator for the Family to Family Network of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Family Involvement, Jonathan “Jonno” Alcaro and Dolly Joseph, who has taught in Charlottesville City Schools and at the private Peabody School, are seeking the board’s at-large seat.

In recent redistricting meetings, Lochner — who serves on Albemarle’s Special Education Advisory Committee and Parent Council — has warned against the impacts any potential changes could have on the division’s special education students.

Lochner said she gained valuable experience informing policy while serving on committees, but wants to do more.

“I just felt like I could do something different in the form of implementing policy,” Lochner said, noting that career and technical education is also an important issue.

Alcaro is co-owner of Meritage Financial Solutions and also has a child in Albemarle’s schools.

Additionally, both Vanyo and Joseph have applied to be appointed as an interim board member representing the Samuel Miller District. Former School Board member Eric Strucko resigned his seat in April, and the six remaining members of the board are expected to announce which of the applicants will fill Strucko’s seat until the Nov. 3 special election.

Current School Board member Steve Koleszar, who represents the Scottsville District, and Jason Buyaki, who represents the Rivanna District, are both running unopposed.

Bekah Saxon, the current director of Blue Ridge UniServ, said the organization looks forward to learning more about the candidates during its recommendation process.

“Many of them come into the race with significant experience, and all of them have unique backgrounds and perspectives that will make for rich conversation about our schools during the election process,” Saxon said. “We like to see diverse candidates so that there can be true community involvement in the direction our public schools take.”

In addition to Joseph and Vanyo, the following people applied to fill the Samuel Miller seat on the Albemarle School Board on an interim basis: Jon Stokes, who held the seat from 2006-2009; Patrick Barnett, a member of the Parent Council; Robert McKnight, an engineer with children in the division; Graham Paige, who taught science in Albemarle for 24 years; and Madison Cummings, a former county School Board member who has since withdrawn his application for the interim post.

 

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